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A pardon for my father would be an achievement of civil society, says Hector Patishtán

*If there were justice in the country, it would not have been necessary to reform the law, he says

Fernando Camacho Servin

La Jornada
Sunday October 27, 2013

Although “it is perhaps not the most appropriate solution or the one we would have liked,” the possibility of securing a presidential pardon for the teacher Alberto Patishtán should be seen as an achievement of organised civil society, which may also help others who have been imprisoned unjustly, said the son of the Tzotzil activist, Héctor Patishtán.

In an interview with La Jornada, the young man said that if there were real justice in the country, it would not even have been necessary for the Senate to reform the Federal Criminal Code concerning pardons, as they did on 23 October, in order to open the possibility that the Congress could ask the Head of the Executive to award the benefit of such action to those who have been the victims of serious procedural errors.

“In the first place, we should not be in these circumstances, but the reform which they approved also has its good side, because it could set a precedent for many prisoners who are unjustly imprisoned,” he stressed.

“Only one route”

Héctor Patishtán said that a pardon is just one more route which we need to fully explore and walk, along with the possibility of an amnesty or an appeal to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, the first option should not be rejected, as at this moment the priority is to free his father, who has spent 13 years in prison charged with the murder of seven policemen.

"Seeing how things are, I believe that due to my dad’s delicate state of health, it is urgent to secure his freedom. Perhaps it is not the most appropriate solution, nor the one we would have chosen, but (a pardon) is fine,” and his release could be achieved in a matter of days, once the reform has been ratified by the Chamber of Deputies and published in the Official Journal of the Federation, explained the young man.

Rogelio Rueda, a member of the Committee for the Liberation of Alberto Patishtán, agreed that the possibility of a pardon should be seen as a triumph not only for the indigenous teacher, but also for other victims of judicial abuse, and stressed that what is most important right now is to obtain his release by any means.

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